Rare Rides: The 1988 Chrysler Conquest - an American Sports Coupe

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
rare rides the 1988 chrysler conquest an american sports coupe

Quick badge swaps between Chrysler and Mitsubishi were common throughout the Eighties. Mostly a one-way affair, Chrysler rebranded Mitsubishi products as Colts, Plymouths, and Dodges. These captive imports generated revenue via Chrysler’s brand recognition while cheaply filling gaps in the domestic company’s lineup.

Today marks our first Chrysler-branded Mitsubishi, and it’s certainly the sportiest rebadge we’ve seen here. Presenting the Chrysler Conquest, from 1988.

Chrysler existed without a sports car in its portfolio for the early part of the Eighties, but did sell the Mitsubishi Galant Lambda as the Dodge Challenger and Plymouth Sapporo. Those offerings ended in 1983, and in 1984 Chrysler received its own sporty car in the front-drive Chrysler Laser. That same year, Dodge received its own Laser version, as well as Mitsubishi’s Starion (as Conquest), which Mitsubishi sold on North American shores since 1983. Chrysler had to make do with the Laser as its sole sports offering until 1987, when the Conquest moved mildly upmarket for its duties at ChryCo’s finest showrooms.

Fitting its sporty mission, all examples of the Starion and Conquest were turbocharged, making use of inline-four Mitsubishi engines. Displacement options were of 2.0 or 2.6 liters, and power was transferred to the rear through a four-speed automatic or five-speed manual. Starion was based on a revised version of the Galant Lambda platform, serving as its direct successor.

There were two different body styles of Conquest, due to Japanese regulations on size. Early models were all the “narrow body,” with a 66.3-inch width. That width (and the 2.0-liter engine) qualified for a lower tax bracket. As the Starion had branched out to the American market, half way through 1985 Mitsubishi made a concession and debuted a wide-body version. Overall width grew to 68.7 inches.

But the product differentiation didn’t stop with a width adjustment. Narrow versions were now considered the entry model, and went without an intercooler on the turbo. Wide body versions had an intercooler, and most often used the larger 2.6-liter engine. Denoting the upmarket models were ESI-r badges for the Starion, and TSi markings on the Conquest. Upon the introduction of the TSi in North America, the narrow body cars were called Technica. In select markets which didn’t receive any wide-body cars, there was a concession: a more powerful ESI-r trim in narrow body format. Power figures ranged from 150 to 197 horses depending on region, turbocharger, intercooler option, and number of heads (eight or 12).

Mitsubishi continued to fiddle with things like wheel lug count and axles for the remainder of the Conquest’s run. Things got narrower for the wide body in 1988, with a decrease to 68.3 inches. That same year the car was lowered by nearly two inches, thus completing its final look. 1989 marked the last year for Conquest and Starion, as their American-made DSM successors — Plymouth Laser and company — were ready for 1990.

Today’s black-on-black Conquest TSi is in very rare form with low miles. Located in Florida, it asks $6,999.

[Images: seller]

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  • Cimarron typeR Cimarron typeR on Aug 26, 2020

    This is my favored JDM coupe ,based on looks alone, or perhaps tied with an FD Rx 7

  • Rick Rick on Feb 09, 2023

    I thought they looked so cool, and wanted one badly. The prices were high so stuck with the Daytona and Shelby Chargers. Finally one came along I could afford. I loved that car, but the electronics were a nightmare.. this is such a great looking car

  • Analoggrotto A human who choses Tesla is telling the world that they are more intelligent than 98.5% of the remaining population. The Homo sapiens genome is evolving to the next species and it is starting with TESLA customers. We are the future, we are the galaxy, we will succeed all of humanity.
  • Alan The Prado shouldn't have the Landcruiser name attached. It isn't a Landcruiser as much as a Tacoma or 4 Runner or a FJ Cruiser. Toyota have used the Landcruiser name as a marketing exercise for years. In Australia the RAV4 even had Landcruiser attached years ago! The Toyota Landcruiser is the Landcruiser, not a tarted up Tacoma wagon.Here a GX Prado cost about $61k before on roads, this is about $41k USD. This is a 2.8 diesel 4x4 with all the off road tricky stuff, plus AC, power windows, etc. I'm wondering if Toyota will perform the Nissan Armada treatment on it and debase the Prado. The Patrol here is actually as capable and possibly more capable than the Landcruiser off road (according to some reviews). The Armada was 'muricanised and the off road ability was reduced a lot. Who ever heard of a 2 wheel drive Patrol.Does the US need the Prado? Why not. Another option to choose from built by Toyota that is overpriced and uses old tech.My sister had a Prado Grande, I didn't think much of it. It was narrow inside and not that comfortable. Her Grand Cherokee was more comfortable and now her Toureg is even more comfortable, but you can still feel the road in the seat of your pants and ears.
  • Jeffrey No tis vehicle doen't need to come to America. The market if flooded in this segment what we need are fun affordable vehicles.
  • Nrd515 I don't really see the point of annual inspections, especially when the car is under 3 years (warranty) old. Inspections should be safety related, ONLY, none of the nonsensical CA ARB rules that end up being something like, "Your air intake doesn't have an ARB sticker on it, so you have to remove it and buy one just like it that does have the ARB sticker on it!". If the car or whatever isn't puking smoke out of it, and it doesn't make your eyes water, like an old Chevy Bel-Air I was behind on Wed did, it's fine. I was stuck in traffic behind that old car, and wow, the gasoline smell was super potent. It was in nice shape, but man, it was choking me. I was amused by the 80 something old guy driving it, he even had a hat with a feather in it, THE sign of someone you don't want to be driving anywhere near you.
  • Lou_BC "15mpg EPA" The 2023 ZR2 Colorado is supposed to be 16 mpg